Sunday, April 5, 2020

One big story

What do you do when you are a writer and there only seems to be one story, one story that is the center of everyone's attention, one story that overshadows all others right now?

Maybe you take notes, because you know this time is extraordinary, or because that's just how you deal with the best and worst of life. Writing is the way you make sense of the senseless pain in life. Writing is what reminds you of any small blessings you can find right now. Maybe writing is what brings you determination, or it's the way you process grief, or it's what gives you hope.

Or maybe you don't dive into the one big story at all. You escape into another story altogether, far away from the one you are living on a daily basis. Maybe you find yourself as a reader welcoming stories that transport you, if only temporarily, away from this time and situation. Those other stories give you a perspective on the broad sweep of history, or they just give you the relief of visiting another world for a while. Maybe as a writer you vow to write such stories for the others who need a break from the one big story.

Or maybe you don't write at all for a while. Your time is taken up with other things--illness, caregiving, tending the homefires, volunteering, working the day job at home or out there in a different world. Maybe you have the time, but you can't focus--you can't even write about the one big story, because you're too busy living it.

We all cope the best we can. There's no one right answer--as with so much of writing. There's only what works for you right now.